Tuesday, April 5, 2011

So, what's spiritual direction, anyway?

Sunflowers, Late September (detail), ©Sukie Curtis, 2011

So, what's "spiritual direction," anyway?

Spiritual direction is collaborative, personal detective work, or like a treasure hunt in which the treasure to be found is you--and the Spirit who dwells in the depths of you.

It is giving ear and voice to the conversation that your life keeps inviting you to have.

How is spiritual direction different from life coaching?

"Spiritual Direction" is the old-fashioned name for a practice that has been around for centuries (perhaps even millennia!) and yet is very, very contemporary. I think of spiritual direction as the ancestor of the much newer field of life coaching.

Both take place largely in the collaborative work of conversation--listening, asking questions, finding answers, focusing, zeroing in, listening some more, trusting the process to lead where it needs to. One-on-one consultations take place either in person or over the phone.

While the focus of spiritual direction is most often described in terms of one's own relationship to the Spirit, to God, or the spiritual dimension of life, I approach both life coaching and spiritual direction from the perspective that the primary focus is the client--her experience, her questions, her hopes, dreams, likes and dislikes, passions and fears. It is in those realities, not somewhere else, where the Spirit, the creative energy of life, or the "God who dwells within," is met and experienced.)

Spiritual direction is usually a long-term relationship, and sessions usually take place once a month. Life coaching may be more intensive, with more frequent sessions contributing to the support and momentum for reaching one's goals.

In addition, coaching enlists helpful tools to further focus on identifying and articulating goals and the inner resources one has for meeting them as well as the process of naming and being accountable for the steps to get there.

Compassionate support and accountability are part of both processes. Your own focus, desires, and intention--how you imagine what it is you are looking for--more than the name of the process, are what matter most. Simple practices, writing exercises, or other forms of homework also support the work.

Unlike many coaches out there, I don't promise to "change your life in six weeks!" and I don't follow a prescribed program. But I know that the work we can do together really makes a difference to help you hear and respond to what "calls" to you from within your own life and beyond it.

Who am I?

I was first trained in spiritual direction in 1990 and have supported women through this work ever since. My understanding and approach to the process have evolved considerably over the years. I am a former Episcopal priest; in 2008 I followed my own soul's "calling" to leave ordination behind after 24 years of ordained ministry. In addition to my work as spiritual director and life coach, I am a painter, writer, nature-lover, wife and mother.

I bring my painter's eye, my curiosity and keen observation, my poet's ear for language, my creative mind and playful spirit to the collaborative work of spiritual direction and life coaching. 

I draw from centuries of spiritual wisdom of various traditions as well as from the wisdom that arises between us as we work together.

I will help you hear your soul's unique language so that you may live more fully from your own truth, delight, and freedom.

To explore either spiritual direction or life coaching, I invite you to call (207-781-7320) or email me (sbcurtis@maine.rr.com) to set up a consultation of up to thirty minutes at no charge.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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